OK, Guidance. What Should I Do About...?

Published on November 6th, 2018
A person's hand holding a compass.

How many atoms are there in a human body? What does a Kangaroo sound like? How far is it from here to Sante Fe? These are three recent Google searches I made to satiate the never-ending questions of curiosity that wink in and out of existence in my mind. What never ceases to amaze me is the ever diminishing gap of time it takes from the time I think of the question until I can obtain the answer. Usually, this is on the order of seconds and rarely over a few minutes. This is absurdly fast when I compare the experience of my childhood of having to get a hall pass to the library and then query around to get the right book, search the index, and hope that I could find the facts I needed. If it was the weekend, it might take me 2 to 3 days of waiting for the opportunity. From days to seconds. From a state of suspended wonder to instant gratification. Now we need but ask... "Alexa, what's the weather in Longmont today?"

While far from perfect, voice technology services like Siri, Alexa, and Ok Google are fast enough and accurate enough to feel almost magical. Like there is some all-knowing intelligence that can conjure up a solution in an instant.

One of my hesitations and fears about these technologies is the ever-increasing reliance on external technologies and the atrophy of an inner technology that we all have: guidance and intuition. I believe that when we actually pause and make space, the loud conscious minds gets quiet and we can access inner thoughts and feelings. We can even prompt this process by asking open-ended questions and then getting still to listen. Sure, the response isn't a computer-assisted voice and the response time isn't 1-2 seconds, but the answers can be far more interesting to questions that Siri could never (in 2018) attempt to answer: Am I on the right path? What should I do in this moral dilemma? What is my passion and what changes to I need to make in life?

For those that have never connected with that inner voice, you can try it right now. Find a quiet space, but a hand on your heart, and breath slowly and deeply for 2-3 minutes. Ask a question like "Ok Guidance, what do you have for me today?" and then get very curious at the thoughts and feelings that arise. Like Alexa and Siri, it may take a while for it to understand your voice and your dialect. However, the more you use it, the stronger your connection and the more you'll be able to start interpreting what your unconscious thoughts and feelings may be trying to tell you.

Or not. But I have a suspicion that, as a species, we need to balance our use of both the inner and external technologies to truly find the answers we are looking for.

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About Rick Manelius

Quick Stats: CTO of Contact Mapping. Author of Winning the Lottery Within. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.